Use a screen reader with backgrounds in Microsoft Teams meetings

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Microsoft Teams for Windows with your keyboard and a screen reader to change what appears behind you in your video during a meeting. This is also known as the background, background effect, or background filter. We have tested it with JAWS and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

You'll learn how to change the background effect before you join your meeting or during the meeting, turn off the effect, blur or unblur the background, or upload a custom background effect. You'll also learn about the background effects that come with Microsoft Teams, so you can easily pick a suitable effect. 

Once you've changed the background effect, the same effect will persist for all your future meetings until you change background again.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • Recent versions of JAWS no longer have the virtual PC cursor mode set as default for Microsoft Teams. For instructions on how to switch the virtual PC cursor mode on, go to Enable the JAWS virtual cursor.

  • The background effects aren't supported if you're using Microsoft Teams through optimized virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

In this topic

Change the background before joining the meeting

You can change the background while you're setting up your video and audio before you actually join the meeting. 

  1. In the Microsoft Teams Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and press Enter. Navigate to the Join button, and press Enter. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. Press the Tab key until you hear "Video options toolbar, camera check box, not checked," and press Spacebar to turn on the camera. If you hear "Camera check box, checked," the camera is already on, and you can proceed to the next step.

  3. Press the Right arrow key once. You hear: "Show background options button." Press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. Once you're ready, complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and press Enter. Navigate to the Join button, and press Enter. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. With NVDA, press the SR key+Spacebar to switch to the virtual mode. With JAWS, press the SR key+Z. Then press B until you hear "Video options toolbar, Show background options button," and press Spacebar.

    If you hear "Video options toolbar, Turn on video," the camera is not on. To turn on the camera, press the Left arrow key once, and press Spacebar. You hear: "Camera is on." Press B once and then press Spacebar.

  3. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  4. Once you're ready, complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Change the background during the meeting

You can change your background even when the meeting has already started.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, press the Tab key until you hear: "Meeting controls region, toolbar, turn camera off."

  2. Press the Left arrow key until you hear "More actions," and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Apply background effects," and press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. To display the selected background in the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, press B until you hear "More actions button," and press Enter.

  2. Press the Left arrow key until you hear "More actions, menu button," and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Apply background effects," and press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. To display the selected background in the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter.

Blur the background

To make sure there is nothing embarrassing or distracting going on when you're using the video camera in a Microsoft Teams meeting, you can blur the background either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the Blur button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background blur effect is applied automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the Blur button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background blur effect is applied automatically.

Turn off the background or blurring effect

If you no longer want to use a background effect or blur your background, you can turn the effect off or unblur the background, and switch back to using what ever appears behind you. You can turn off the effect either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the None button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background effect is turned off automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the None button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background effect is turned off automatically.

Use a custom background effect

If you'd rather use one of your own pictures as the background effect instead of a pre-designed image, you can upload an image from your computer. You can upload and start using the custom effect either before you join a meeting or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Add new," and press Enter.

  3. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Navigate to the image you want to use as the background. Once you're on the image, press Enter. The image is added to the list of backgrounds.

  4. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter to use the uploaded image as your background. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the custom background effect is applied automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode. In JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press B or Shift+B until you hear "Add new," and press Enter.

  3. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Navigate to the image you want to use as the background. Once you're on the image, press Enter. The image is added to the list of backgrounds.

  4. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter to use the uploaded image as your background. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the custom background effect is applied automatically.

Descriptions of the currently available background effects

When you use your screen reader to browse the background effects in the Background settings pane, you hear the name of each effect. To find a suitable effect, refer to the descriptions below of the effects that come with Microsoft Teams.

Effect name

Effect description

Contemporary Office 3

An office desk in the front, light blue lockers behind the desk, a screened-off office space on the left, and a hallway leading to a larger office space in the back, AC ducts visible on an unpainted concrete ceiling.

Beach

An empty, sandy beach with a light blue life savers hut in the middle, palm trees in the background, and open blue skies.

Traditional Office 1

A light, snug office space, a window on the left, a wooden door in the back.

Home

A home office space with white walls, a doorway leading to another room, a window and a house plant on the right, a desk on the left.

Fluent Spaces 3

A large and light two-story space without furniture, sunlight coming from the windows on the right, a low, wooden staircase in the back.

Fluent Spaces 4

A light space under renovation, with white sheets on the floor in the back of the space, sunlight coming from a large window on the right.

Contemporary Office 1

An office lounge space with colorful furniture, glass walls with a city view, unpainted concrete ceiling with an industrial look.

Contemporary Office 2

A light office space with white walls in the background, the top of a desk in the front, and a couple of green potted plants.

Fluent Sphere 4

Large sphere-shaped objects in different colors in close-up.

Fluent Sphere 2

Sphere-shaped objects in different colors and varying size against a pink and purple background.

EDU Background Bridge

A suspension bridge surrounded by mountains and pink skies in the background.

EDU Background Space

A space probe on a rocky terrain with purple skies in the background.

EDU Background Classroom

A classroom with desks and chairs facing the blackboard.

EDU Background Lab

A futuristic lab space with robots and large lab equipment.

Minecraft Background Green

A colorful cubistic garden with different characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Minecraft Background Dark

A cubistic, futuristic nighttime city view with cubistic and colorful characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Halo Valley

A green mountain valley with grazing animals in the front, surrounded by forests, and a mountain lake in the back, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Ring Still

A futuristic courtyard with low buildings in the front and a large ring-shaped object with fans in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Worlds Edge Background 01

A medieval village with a narrow lane framed by woodwork houses in the front and a castle on a hilltop in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Zenith Vista

A view into the dark outer space with a part of a spaceship in the front and a bright star in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

EDU Background Galaxy

A colorful galaxy formation with bright stars punctuating the scenery.

Obsidian Background 1

A view from rocky mountains to a lake with a large Saturn like planet in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Roseway 1

Futuristic buildings on either side of a narrow lane in the front with trees and pink skies in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Color Cryo

A view from a rocky hill with human and animal characters in the front towards a futuristic fortress in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

See also

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Learning the layout of Microsoft  Teams with a screen reader

Use Microsoft Teams on Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to change what appears behind you in your video during a meeting. This is also known as the background, background effect, or background filter.

You'll learn how to change the background effect before you join your meeting or during the meeting, turn off the effect, blur or unblur the background, or upload a custom background effect. You'll also learn about the background effects that come with Microsoft Teams, so you can easily pick a suitable effect. 

Once you've changed the background effect, the same effect will persist for all your future meetings until you change background again.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

  • The background effects aren't supported if you're using Microsoft Teams through optimized virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

In this topic

Change the background before joining the meeting

You can change the background while you're setting up your video and audio before you actually join the meeting.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams  Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and press Return. Navigate to the Join button, and press Return. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. Press the Tab key once. You hear: "Camera ticked, tick box." If you hear "Camera unticked," press Control+Option+Spacebar to turn on the camera.

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key once. You hear: "Hide background options." Press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane.

  4. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you find the background effect you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select and apply it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. Once you're ready, complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Change the background during the meeting

You can change your background even when the meeting has already started. 

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, press the Tab key until you hear: "Entering toolbar."

  2. Press Contol+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "More actions, button," and then press Contol+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press Contol+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Apply background effects, menu item," and press Contol+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you find the background effect you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select and apply it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. To display the selected background in the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Blur the background

To make sure there is nothing embarrassing or distracting going on when you're using the video camera in a Microsoft Teams meeting, you can blur the background either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "Blur menu item," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background blur effect is applied automatically.

Turn off the background or blurring effect

If you no longer want to use a background effect or blur your background, you can turn the effect off or unblur the background, and switch back to using what ever appears behind you. You can turn off the effect either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear "None menu item," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background effect is turned off automatically.

Use a custom background effect

If you'd rather use one of your own pictures as the background effect instead of a pre-designed image, you can upload an image from your computer. You can upload and start using the custom effect either before you join a meeting or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press Control+Option+Left arrow key until you hear "Add new button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. The file browser opens. Navigate to the image that you want to use as your custom background effect.

  4. Once on the right image, press the Tab key until you reach the OK button, and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply button," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background custom effect is applied automatically.

Descriptions of the currently available background effects

When you use your screen reader to browse the background effects in the Background settings pane, you hear the name of each effect. To find a suitable effect, refer to the descriptions below of the effects that come with Microsoft Teams.

Effect name

Effect description

Contemporary Office 3

An office desk in the front, light blue lockers behind the desk, a screened-off office space on the left, and a hallway leading to a larger office space in the back, AC ducts visible on an unpainted concrete ceiling.

Beach

An empty, sandy beach with a light blue life savers hut in the middle, palm trees in the background, and open blue skies.

Traditional Office 1

A light, snug office space, a window on the left, a wooden door in the back.

Home

A home office space with white walls, a doorway leading to another room, a window and a house plant on the right, a desk on the left.

Fluent Spaces 3

A large and light two-story space without furniture, sunlight coming from the windows on the right, a low, wooden staircase in the back.

Fluent Spaces 4

A light space under renovation, with white sheets on the floor in the back of the space, sunlight coming from a large window on the right.

Contemporary Office 1

An office lounge space with colorful furniture, glass walls with a city view, unpainted concrete ceiling with an industrial look.

Contemporary Office 2

A light office space with white walls in the background, the top of a desk in the front, and a couple of green potted plants.

Fluent Sphere 4

Large sphere-shaped objects in different colors in close-up.

Fluent Sphere 2

Sphere-shaped objects in different colors and varying size against a pink and purple background.

EDU Background Bridge

A suspension bridge surrounded by mountains and pink skies in the background.

EDU Background Space

A space probe on a rocky terrain with purple skies in the background.

EDU Background Classroom

A classroom with desks and chairs facing the blackboard.

EDU Background Lab

A futuristic lab space with robots and large lab equipment.

Minecraft Background Green

A colorful cubistic garden with different characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Minecraft Background Dark

A cubistic, futuristic nighttime city view with cubistic and colorful characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Halo Valley

A green mountain valley with grazing animals in the front, surrounded by forests, and a mountain lake in the back, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Ring Still

A futuristic courtyard with low buildings in the front and a large ring-shaped object with fans in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Worlds Edge Background 01

A medieval village with a narrow lane framed by woodwork houses in the front and a castle on a hilltop in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Zenith Vista

A view into the dark outer space with a part of a spaceship in the front and a bright star in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

EDU Background Galaxy

A colorful galaxy formation with bright stars punctuating the scenery.

Obsidian Background 1

A view from rocky mountains to a lake with a large Saturn like planet in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Roseway 1

Futuristic buildings on either side of a narrow lane in the front with trees and pink skies in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Color Cryo

A view from a rocky hill with human and animal characters in the front towards a futuristic fortress in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

See also

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Learning the layout of Microsoft Teams with a screen reader

Use Microsoft Teams for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to blur your background in a meeting. This way you can make sure there is nothing embarrassing or distracting going on when the video camera is on. You'll also learn how to unblur the background. You can blur or unblur the background either before or during the meeting.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

In this topic 

Blur or unblur the background before joining the meeting

  1. In the Microsoft Teams  Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and double-tap the screen. Navigate to the Join button, and double-tap the screen. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. Do one of the following:

    1. To blur your background, swipe right until you hear "Turn on background blur, double-tap to activate," and double-tap the screen. The blur effect is applied. The camera is turned on if it was off.

    2. To unblur your background, swipe right until you hear "Turn on background blur, button," and double-tap the screen.

  3. Complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Blur or unblur the background during the meeting

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, swipe left until you hear "More calling options," and double-tap the screen.

  2. Do one of the following:

    1. To blur your background, swipe right until you hear either "Start video with blur" if your camera is off or "Blur my background" if your camera is on, and then double-tap the screen.

    2. To unblur your background, swipe right until you hear "Unblur background," and double-tap the screen. The camera remains on.

See also

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to work with files in Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Learning the layout of Microsoft  Teams with a screen reader

Use Microsoft Teams on the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to change what appears behind you in your video during a meeting. This is also known as the background, background effect, or background filter. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

You'll learn how to change the background effect before you join your meeting or during the meeting, turn off the effect, blur or unblur the background, or upload a custom background effect. You'll also learn about the backgrounds that come with Microsoft Teams, so you can easily pick a suitable effect. 

Once you've changed the background effect, the same effect will persist for all your future meetings until you change background again. 

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • Recent versions of JAWS no longer have the virtual PC cursor mode set as default for Microsoft Teams. For instructions on how to switch the virtual PC cursor mode on, go to Enable the JAWS virtual cursor.

  • The background effects aren't supported if you're using Microsoft Teams through optimized virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

In this topic

Change the background before joining the meeting

You can change the background while you're setting up your video and audio before you actually join the meeting.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and press Enter. Navigate to the Join button, and press Enter. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. Press the Tab key until you hear "Video options toolbar, camera check box, not checked," and press Spacebar to turn on the camera. If you hear "Camera check box, checked," the camera is already on, and you can proceed to the next step.

  3. Press the Right arrow key once. You hear: "Show background options button." Press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. Once you're ready, complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams Calendar view, navigate to the meeting you want to join, and press Enter. Navigate to the Join button, and press Enter. For detailed instructions on how to join a meeting, refer to Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

  2. The dialog box for setting up your video and audio opens. With NVDA, press the SR key+Spacebar to switch to the virtual mode. With JAWS, press the SR key+Z. Then press B until you hear "Video options toolbar, Show background options button," and press Spacebar.

    If you hear "Video options toolbar, Turn on video," the camera is not on. To turn on the camera, press the Left arrow key once, and press Spacebar. You hear: "Camera is on." Press B once and then press Spacebar.

  3. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  4. Once you're ready, complete setting up your audio and video and join the meeting as instructed in Use a screen reader to join a meeting in Microsoft Teams.

Change the background during the meeting

You can change your background even when the meeting has already started.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, press the Tab key until you hear: "Meeting controls region, toolbar, turn camera off."

  2. Press the Left arrow key until you hear "More actions," and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Apply background effects," and press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. To display the selected background in the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. In the Microsoft Teams meeting, press B until you hear "More actions button," and press Enter.

  2. Press the Left arrow key until you hear "More actions, menu button," and press Enter.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Apply background effects," and press Enter.

  4. The Background settings pane opens, and the focus moves to the pane. You hear: "None selected." Use the arrow keys to find the background you want, and then press Spacebar to select it. For information on each pre-designed Microsoft Teams background, refer to Descriptions of the currently available background effects.

  5. To display the selected background in the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter.

Blur the background

To make sure there is nothing embarrassing or distracting going on when you're using the video camera in a Microsoft Teams meeting, you can blur the background either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the Blur button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background blur effect is applied automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the Blur button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background blur effect is applied automatically.

Turn off the background or blurring effect

If you no longer want to use a background effect or blur your background, you can turn the effect off or unblur the background, and switch back to using what ever appears behind you. You can turn off the effect either before or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the None button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background effect is turned off automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, use the arrow keys until you reach the None button, and press Enter.

  3. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the background effect is turned off automatically.

Use a custom background effect

If you'd rather use one of your own pictures as the background effect instead of a pre-designed image, you can upload an image from your computer. You can upload and start using the custom effect either before you join a meeting or during the meeting.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Add new," and press Enter.

  3. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Navigate to the image you want to use as the background. Once you're on the image, press Enter. The image is added to the list of backgrounds.

  4. If you'd already joined the meeting, press the Tab key until you hear "Apply," and press Enter to use the uploaded image as your background. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the custom background effect is applied automatically.

Note: In NVDA this is called the browse mode, in JAWS it is called the virtual cursor mode, and in Narrator it is called the scan mode.

  1. Whether you're already in a meeting or just setting up for the meeting, navigate to the Background settings pane as instructed in Change the background before joining the meeting or Change the background during the meeting.

  2. In the Background settings pane, press B or Shift+B until you hear "Add new," and press Enter.

  3. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Navigate to the image you want to use as the background. Once you're on the image, press Enter. The image is added to the list of backgrounds.

  4. If you'd already joined the meeting, press B until you hear "Apply," and press Enter to use the uploaded image as your background. If you hadn't joined the meeting yet, the custom background effect is applied automatically.

Descriptions of the currently available background effects

When you use your screen reader to browse the background effects in the Background settings pane, you hear the name of each effect. To find a suitable effect, refer to the descriptions below of the effects that come with Microsoft Teams.

Effect name

Effect description

Contemporary Office 3

An office desk in the front, light blue lockers behind the desk, a screened-off office space on the left, and a hallway leading to a larger office space in the back, AC ducts visible on an unpainted concrete ceiling.

Beach

An empty, sandy beach with a light blue life savers hut in the middle, palm trees in the background, and open blue skies.

Traditional Office 1

A light, snug office space, a window on the left, a wooden door in the back.

Home

A home office space with white walls, a doorway leading to another room, a window and a house plant on the right, a desk on the left.

Fluent Spaces 3

A large and light two-story space without furniture, sunlight coming from the windows on the right, a low, wooden staircase in the back.

Fluent Spaces 4

A light space under renovation, with white sheets on the floor in the back of the space, sunlight coming from a large window on the right.

Contemporary Office 1

An office lounge space with colorful furniture, glass walls with a city view, unpainted concrete ceiling with an industrial look.

Contemporary Office 2

A light office space with white walls in the background, the top of a desk in the front, and a couple of green potted plants.

Fluent Sphere 4

Large sphere-shaped objects in different colors in close-up.

Fluent Sphere 2

Sphere-shaped objects in different colors and varying size against a pink and purple background.

EDU Background Bridge

A suspension bridge surrounded by mountains and pink skies in the background.

EDU Background Space

A space probe on a rocky terrain with purple skies in the background.

EDU Background Classroom

A classroom with desks and chairs facing the blackboard.

EDU Background Lab

A futuristic lab space with robots and large lab equipment.

Minecraft Background Green

A colorful cubistic garden with different characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Minecraft Background Dark

A cubistic, futuristic nighttime city view with cubistic and colorful characters, inspired by the video game Minecraft.

Halo Valley

A green mountain valley with grazing animals in the front, surrounded by forests, and a mountain lake in the back, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Ring Still

A futuristic courtyard with low buildings in the front and a large ring-shaped object with fans in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Worlds Edge Background 01

A medieval village with a narrow lane framed by woodwork houses in the front and a castle on a hilltop in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

Halo Zenith Vista

A view into the dark outer space with a part of a spaceship in the front and a bright star in the background, inspired by the video game Halo.

EDU Background Galaxy

A colorful galaxy formation with bright stars punctuating the scenery.

Obsidian Background 1

A view from rocky mountains to a lake with a large Saturn like planet in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Roseway 1

Futuristic buildings on either side of a narrow lane in the front with trees and pink skies in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Background Color Cryo

A view from a rocky hill with human and animal characters in the front towards a futuristic fortress in the background, inspired by the video game The Outer Worlds.

 See also

Use a screen reader to share your screen in Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to schedule a meeting in Microsoft Teams

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Microsoft Teams

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Microsoft Teams

Learning the layout of Microsoft  Teams with a screen reader

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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